More Questions every Small Group Leader Has

Every small group leader has questions. Most have lots of questions. It can be intimidating to take on the leadership of a group, but you can be assured that (almost) every small group leader has the same doubts, concerns, and questions you do. The second that we as leaders think we have it all figured out is when we should stop being leaders. I have discovered that the best leaders always have questions—and they’re not afraid to ask them.

You can read my top five questions here, but here are three more questions every small group leader has.

1. What do we do about childcare?

This is the number one question from parents, and the number one barrier to many people committing to a small group. If you are planning to invite married couples with young kids, have a solution for this issue before the group begins. Here are a few ideas I recommend to group leaders:

  • Each family makes their own arrangements for childcare.
  • The group hires a babysitter, and the families split the cost.
  • Work with the student ministry to hire a female babysitter who is raising money for a summer missions trip.
  • Work out a co-op relationship with another group that meets on another night.
  • Make one night a month a game night where the kids are invited to take part.
  • Involve the older kids into the discussion and life of the group. My kids have been active members of our groups through the years.
  • Rotate childcare among the members of the group, putting two non-related adults in charge of babysitting for a given night, and rotating each week.

2. What if no one shows up for the group meeting?

It can be very disheartening to prepare for your group and then have no one show up. It’s sometimes worse if only one person comes! Here are a few factors to think about if no one signs up or shows up for the group:

  • Is the group being hosted in too remote of an area from the church? It will be more difficult to ask church members to attend a group that is over 15-20 minutes from their house.
  • Is the group’s focus too narrow? Targeting a specific cause for a group to form around can be beneficial, but it will take longer to gain traction.
  • Are you meeting on an unpopular night? Look for a day and time that works well for the demographic you are inviting to the group.
  • Are the meetings consistent enough? Groups that only meet once a month will never gain the relational equity it takes to build loyalty.
  • Is the group shrinking? It is always good to add new people during the life of the small group.

3. How do I stay healthy as a leader while helping others do the same?

It’s important that we as leaders take care of our spiritual, mental, and physical selves while helping others do the same thing. We can spend so much time pouring into our group members, and forget that leading yourself is the number one priority. An unhealthy leader will eventually burnout.

If you find yourself on the edge of burning out spiritually, here is an outline for staying healthy from Pastor Peter Scazzero. He calls it the Rule of Life. “Rule” is from the Greek word “trellis.” You use a trellis in a garden to ensure the plants grow straight and healthy.

Pay attention to these four major categories in your daily routine:

  1. Prayer: this also involves time in the Scripture and using silence and solitude in your quiet times
  2. Rest: Taking a regular sabbath, simplifying your life as much as possible, and making time for play and recreation.
  3. Work/Activity: Including service and mission into your life, and regular care for your physical body
  4. Relationships: Taking care of your emotional health through life-giving relationships with your family and community

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About the author

Chris Surratt is a ministry consultant and coach with more than twenty years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN., and Seacoast Church in Charleston, S.C., prior to becoming the Discipleship and Small Groups Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources. He is the author of Small Groups for the Rest of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups System to Reach the Fringes.